South African Inflation Hits New 13-Year High

Written by on August 24, 2022

Inflation in South Africa accelerated to its highest level in 13 years in July, pushed mainly by surging food, transport and electricity prices, official data showed Wednesday as workers staged protests over the high cost of living.

Consumer prices rose at an annual rate of 7.8 percent in July, up from 7.4 percent in June, the national statistics agency StatsSA said in a statement.

The publication of the latest statistics coincided with protests in major cities over the worsening economic conditions, which have been particularly crushing for the poorest in the continent’s most industrialised country.

Strikers led by South Africa’s two largest trade unions called for government action to combat rising poverty and the cost of living in the world’s most unequal country.

While the new inflation figure is bad news for consumers, economists see the country likely reaching a tipping point and believe inflation could ease in the coming months.

Inflation has been soaring worldwide, fuelled by supply chain disruptions after the easing of Covid restrictions as well as surging energy and food prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

For South Africans, it has resulted in rising costs for necessities including food, electricity, fuel and medication, the statistics agency said.

The rising cost of living is taking a toll on a population where the unemployment rate hovers near 34 percent.

The government called the unemployment figures a “major concern” on Wednesday, saying more needed to be done to improve conditions following the pandemic.


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